As most know I have no professional love for Sepp Blatter, and his recent comments about MLS further supplement my feelings on the matter.
While I agree with a singular point in his rant about MLS, that point being the league should align itself with the world's international schedule, everything else is rubbish.
Read the full article, and certainly watch Steve Nichol's comments for the full story, but when doing so, ask yourself what is his real motive here?
My opinion ... money.
FIFA made millions and millions in the 1994 World Cup. So much so bonuses in the $5M range were given to some of the hosting committee members.
How much did the US make for hosting? A $10B loss (source). In fact nearly all countries lose money in hosting, where FIFA walks away with all the cash.
Another source of revenue for FIFA is transfer fees. Right now FIFA takes about 10% of all transfer fees (source), and certainly would want to see its fair share of these revenues from the US to begin to transfer abroad. Not just the "poultry numbers" we are putting up now. Here are some of the finest we have abroad right now, per Forbes.
In a nutshell the US is underperforming as a "FIFA holding." Clearly we should be making far more money for FIFA than we are, and Seppy ain't happy about it. After all (the non-profit) FIFA has topped $1B in revenue in 2010 (source), and the US is just not pulling its weight to add to that coffer.
Of course FIFA profits are "redistributed" to its 208 member associations and development projects ... and little brown envelopes for various influence peddlers ...
MLS is growing at a reasonable rate for competing in such a fierce sports market that the US is. The fact that soccer is the #1 youth sport in the US (as acknowledged by Sepp) is HUGE. How to translate that base, which has existed year on year, into sustained fandom is the question, and there are some smart people (who too are looking to make money, but not on the backs of the poverty stricken) to figure that out.
My money is on the slow steady growth of the men's game in the US. More to do, yes. But what a ride so far!